Writing a User Guide
A manual for people to 'shortcut' and understand your personality, quirks and values. We each have our own opinions, perspectives, and approaches to how we solve problems and that shape us as individuals.
I was criticized for being different. I stopped trying to fit in and did things my way, even if it's not what the rest is doing. I'm not perfect and make mistakes. We each have our own opinions, perspectives, and approaches to how we solve problems and that shape us as individuals.
Rick Pastoor has a newsletter (werk slim) in which he mentioned the concept of a user guide: a manual you write about your personality and the ways you communicate. Simultaneously I saw a tweet by Alexander Klopping where he posted a link to his own user guide. That pushed me to write my own.
I'm not sure about putting this out there. It feels like 'exposing' a lot of personal information but it's also the best and fastest way to get to know me. It was quite uncomfortable to write this but writing this was also relieving. If you understand yourself you will know how to react in future situations.
Without further ado, here is mine:
- ENTJ, INTJ, and ISTJ are personality types that fit me well.
- I'm perceptive about systems and strategy. I want to understand systems and foresee logical outcomes.
- I like to organize information and resources and increase knowledge and understanding. I reduce all complex things into systems and small tasks.
- I'm slightly more introverted. I prefer alone (individual) time but also engage and express my thoughts and feelings.
- My dominant cognitive style is Intuition. I abstractly process information.
- I'm a thinker, I pursue rational and logical reasoning. I believe that every person has the responsibility to take care of himself.
- I would consider myself a Night Owl. I start my days late and do my best work in the evening after most of the day is over.
- I need a lot of sleep to work well.
- I’m an intense over-achiever and tend to excessively critique myself when I feel my work isn’t up to par.
- I praise myself for being relaxed, I'm rarely stressed and think that almost everything will fall into place.
- I tend to overthink too much instead of just getting going.
- I care about the value and materials of products.
- I am an introvert. I like alone (individual) time.
- I don’t take anything too seriously. That’s not to say I don’t understand things that carry weight.
- I always ask questions and see if things can be done differently.
- I am direct, straight forward and honest.
- I question everything. I'm interested in new ideas.
- I am not very flexible, I like to know things upfront.
- I can stay focused on it for quite a long time, as long as it is a task that I can fully engage in.
- If I'm focused and get interrupted I can be curtly.
- I like being alone, but that doesn't mean I'm lonely.
- I'm driven by being intellectually challenged, a feeling of purpose and creativity.
- I might come off as combative because I will disagree and agree with you forcefully. I don't take disagreements personally.
- I don't feel compelled to do things by the book.
- I love to engage in creative tasks, where rules must be broken for advancement to take place.
- Celebrating things is not part of my DNA. I'm not to reward good behavior.
- Long exposure to people is exhausting for me. Smalls groups are fine but +8 people, I'm strangely quit. Do not confuse my quiet with a lack of engagement.
- I really try to get to the place where people feel very comfortable just saying whatever they want to say.
- I prefer to work on 1 thing on my own to make real progress. Then discuss with other people to make adjustments.
- I have very high expectations of the people around me.
- I believe that most humans are trying to do the right thing.
- I hate people who shove responsibility to other people and not take ownership.
- I will respect your personal space boundaries.
- I own up and apologize if something is my fault.
- I sometimes leap to conclusions pretty quickly.
- I find it difficult to start a conversation with someone, even if they are familiar. Often the other person has to ask me something first.
- I have no trouble addressing people when I think they don't have things in order.
- I hate it when people ask "simple" questions that they can read themselves or have not researched.
- I look a lot of things that can be done better instead of giving compliments about things that are already good.
- My yes is valuable, and therefore I’m more comfortable saying no to things outside of the scope of my interests.
- I care about my time. I only do things that are worth doing.
- I prioritize important things first and let go of things that don't matter.
- Preparation is really important to me.
- I'm structured and organized so you can depend on me to get something done. That being said, I am also very critical about what to pursue.
- I like the flexibility to schedule my own time. I like to work on my terms and be in total control. I don't like 9-5 jobby jobs.
- I don't believe in work/life balance. Your work should be your life. That doesn't mean I work all the time I do believe in taking time off and work on hobby projects.
- I'm always on time, most often a bit too early.
- I am very eager to learn.
- I learn something by focussing on 'foundations' first.
- I like to try out new things to see if they improve my workflow.
- I can quickly teach myself a new tool (both physically and digitally) and then use it.
- I'm pretty hard to reach. I don't always carry my phone and turn off notifications.
- Be clear what you need from me for your success
- I don't only tell the problem but also the solution.
- If I know a topic well I can explain them in a clear matter and answer questions immediately.
- I can listen well and know when to keep my mouth shut.
- I need time to think about ideas and suggestions.
- I avoid discussion and walk away if I feel like it's not going anywhere.
- I don't respond quickly but I do always respond. I never leave a message unanswered.
- I do not necessarily consider requests from others to be urgent. I think a lot of things can wait.
- I’m a good listener and I like to absorb things first before responding.
This document is a living breathing thing and likely incomplete. I also published this user guide under
/guides/user-guide which will be the place this guide receives further updates.
Inspiration from Rick Pastoor, Jay Desai & Alexander Klopping user guides. Personality and quirks are based on The Big Five Personality Test, MBTI® Basics, Grip and Full Time You.— Danny de Vries